BellaOnline Literary Review
Little Hoot by Christine Catalano

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The Girl Who Married the Wind

Elena Petricone

Once upon a time a girl fell in love with the wind. The meadow outside her door leaned into the forest with long grass, wildflowers, and milkweed stalks. A smooth flirt, the wind courted the girl by floating milkweed silk past her cheek like feather kisses.

Taken with the designs the wind made as it freed puffs from milkweed pods, the girl cupped a fanned seed in her hands and whispered, "I´ll marry you, wind spirit."

People said the girl was fanciful. To believe in spirits, never mind to speak to them, was considered silly at best. But in her open heart, the girl knew that the zephyr blew warmer on her lips upon her vow.

The meadow sighed soft and familiar through rain and snow and sun. The girl breathed her marriage in the morning and combed her love through her hair in the afternoon. They seemed well suited to each other, though the wind did not always gently tickle branches in the sky. No, the wind could also blow fear into the girl’s throat: hurling birds off course, whipping sleet, and torturing lost balloons. The wind bore myriad names and dispositions, and the girl loved them all.

She was never lonely in her earthbound life. Enchanted as she was with the meadow, the wind lived in constant motion, and the girl, the woman, possessed the same wanderlust. She caught her breath in cities, towns, and villages set by oceans, deserts, mountains, and woods. The woman who fell in love with the wind held many hands in friendship, intertwined many fingers in passionate adoration, and kissed many ear shells to her own.

Departures were never easy. One man in particular tempted her. If he had been a spirit, this man would have been a tree. Like the proverbial apple, he’d fixed his roots not far from his forefathers. He invited the woman to wrap her trunk around his own, to reinforce each other and together reach deeper into the earth, higher into the sky. When the woman pressed herself to him she could see her future clearly. How marvelous it would be, to nourish and be nourished by the world around her, to swell by a ring each year.

Yes, how easily the woman could have chosen that life! Yet she left the man all the same, though her tears seemed endless and their severance cut to the green of her. It simply wasn’t in her nature to creak and sway beneath the wind, rather than to seize and ride alongside it.

Her breakup impressed upon her how human she was and always would be: a corporeal record of small histories. She couldn’t cry away pain, not entirely, no more than she could laugh away joy.

While many tried to persuade her to stay – just a little longer! – she couldn’t linger once the air became stale. The wind never funneled her in any direction. The woman trusted that wherever she went, the wind would be there to waft over her cheek and flutter her skirt.

When she felt lonely she only had to find warm land by water, and the wind would flow into her arms. Unlike her lover, she knew that eventually time and gravity would overtake her and anchor her to the earth. “I wish,” she said one night, her every step buried by sand, “I wish I could spend eternity meeting you again.” The wind slid down her wrists, solemn as the tide.

The woman who fell in love with the wind grew old. On a morning rooftop she dipped her hand into the breeze like a rudder and whispered, “Soon, Beloved,” over pigeon coos.

A huge crowd attended her funeral – family, friends, lovers, secret admirers – and their signatures filled guest books. The woman requested to be buried in a particular field, though it was a stiff golf-green and no longer serried by meadow grass. Before her casket could be lowered into the earth, a mighty gust blew open the lid.

The woman’s flesh, twinkling like firefly love songs, dispersed and rose. Cradled by whirling drafts, her mortal frigate metamorphosed into the flossy parachutes her beloved had once used to woo her. The woman who fell in love with the wind transformed into milkweed seeds. She sailed away in an exuberant zephyr. Her friends waved farewell.

Ever after, again and again, the woman who fell in love with the wind hitches with every current and grows tall in every meadow. She weaves fanned seeds of her own and stretches her white threads into the air, eager to catch her lover’s hand. Ready to fly.

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